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Mailbag: System QBs, Heismans and Horns

Good stuff this week, fans. Thanks for all the questions. Let's do it again sometime.

Jenny in College Station, Texas asks: DU, love your blog. My parents are die hard Aggies but I love the Huskers. Do you know if he is single? Also do you think the Aggies will have something to fear when NU comes to town to play the aggies with a mobile QB or do you think they possibly have seen everything they have from Jerrod Johnson who is also a mobile QB and better prepared?

David Ubben: Ha, couldn't shed any light on Jerrod's relationship status. Never came up in my recent visit to College Station, as opposed to when I stopped by Baylor to spend a day with Robert Griffin.

But to your main point, I wouldn't expect Nebraska to be shocked by anything they see, especially when it comes to mobile quarterbacks. The two most mobile guys they faced last year, Tyrod Taylor and Colt McCoy, had awful days when they played the Huskers, but Nebraska still lost both games -- by a point in the final 30 seconds of each game. Taylor completed less than 50 percent of his passes and McCoy threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. Having a guy that can make plays if things break down is nothing new for the Blackshirts.


Scott Anderson in Manhattan, Kan. asks: David, why no love for Daniel Thomas in your Heisman talk? is it because he doesn't have OU on the side of his helmet? and how could you of put kendall hunter on that list but not DT when we all know KSU played a far more difficult opponent. Just curious why the disrespect?

DU: To be frank, yes. It's because he doesn't have OU on the side of his helmet. Or Texas. Or Nebraska. Complain all you want, but the Heisman is somewhat of a popularity contest that boils down to the best skill position player on a team that finishes near the top 5. I don't see Kansas State winning more than 8-9 games this year. Even 2,000 yards probably wouldn't win Thomas the Heisman. If your team doesn't win at least 10 games, you have almost no chance. Maybe that's bad, but I'm somewhat OK with winning being a big part of the award, because even though a player isn't every reason a team wins, he's most often the biggest reason why.

The only recent exception was Tim Tebow, but Florida is a program with a lot of eyes on it. Tebow had an unbelievable year; he was responsible for 51 touchdowns, the Gators won nine games and ranked in the top 15. Occasionally, an outstanding performance by a guy on a team in that second-tier of teams can win it, which is why Jerrod Johnson and Kendall Hunter are on top of my list for the Big 12, but no Big 12 players are on my Heisman Watch ballot.


Moe in Chicago, Ill. asks: Still think Missouri will give NU a problem this year after their aweful performance against Illinois, which is picked to finish last in the Big10 with Indiana?

DU: I do, but the loss of Derrick Washington is more of a concern than anything that happened last week. Missouri dominated that second half after Blaine Gabbert got rolling, but Washington was Missouri's best bet to get a tough yard. With four backs now under 195 pounds, you might see Missouri throw it a little more inside the 10-yard line or on 3rd-and-short, which by nature is going to lower their percentages of success. We'll see if that comes back to bite them later.


Matt in Milledgeville, Ga. asks: If "T-Magic" backs up his stellar performance last weekend with an eqaully as impressive game, do you see Bo Pelini giving him most of the snaps at Washington next week? What would this mean for the future of Cody Green? Transfer? Position switch?

DU: Definitely, for more on Martinez's status as starter, see my story yesterday. I fully expect Martinez to be the guy next week at Washington, but we'll see how he does against his first real competition when he heads to Seattle. I won't venture a guess as to Green's future. He's still very much in the competition, and Martinez starting at Washington doesn't mean Martinez starts forever. We'll see how it goes, but with as much as Martinez will probably run it, you have to also think a little bit about injury, too.

What I find a little more interesting is what happens to Bubba Starling and Jamal Turner, Nebraska's two blue-chip quarterback recruits for 2011, if Nebraska's bringing back a sophomore at quarterback who just won Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year?


2LT Tyler Norris in Schofield Barracks, HI asks: David, Being a recent UT alumni I have been spoiled by the recent success. This team appears to start the season with similiar expectations as to recent teams. The team seemed very unmotivated, and played less than impressive VS Rice. Do you think it was more of a who they were facing issue or is this finally the yr UT doesn't make 10 wins?

DU: I wouldn't worry at all. Texas was going to focus on getting its running game rolling, and knew having moderate success against Rice wouldn't cost them a win. But as for the final score, let's look at this: Rice scored on a Hail Mary, Texas got stuffed on a 4th-and-goal on the 1-yard line, and the UT secondary dropped two easy pick sixes.

Change all -- or at least a couple -- of those plays, and you get a 55-10 final score. Nobody would be complaining about that, which was a few plays away from happening. It's not like that game was ever really in doubt.


Tad in Holly Springs, N.C. asks: I geeked something out this week. In 2008 and 2009, 13 ranked teams went on the road on Thursday night to face an unranked team. Nine of them were upset. Unranked teams have won 8 of the last 9 games against ranked teams on Thursday.(I am writing this during the Auburn-Miss St game, therefore the number will change)As a Nebraska fan, I am looking a little ahead to our game against Kansas State in a few weeks and wonder why you think this situation exists. With that game being immediately before the Texas game, I cannot help but think Nebraska has a lot working against them.

DU: Well, most of those Thursday night games are conference games, and winning on the road in any conference is tough, especially at night with a crowd that's going to be considerably more jacked up than an 11 a.m. kickoff. It's not any weird coincidence, it's teams playing other good teams on the road in hostile environments. In other words, college football. Winning doesn't come easy.


Jacob in Lubbock, Texas asks: What kind of performance would it take from Taylor Potts over the next few weeks to get him in the Heisman contention?

DU: Don't blame me, but it's going to be tough for a Texas Tech quarterback to ever win a Heisman. The majority of voters have dismissed the position as the product of a system after watching guys like Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons, Sonny Cumbie and Cody Hodges do almost nothing at the next level after putting up video-game numbers in Lubbock.

Michael Crabtree had very, very obvious size and talent that helped win him the Biletnikoff Award twice, and you see him using those at the next level. The Heisman isn't an award that's dependent on future success, obviously, but the short post-college careers of those other guys have certainly lent a lot of credibility to the sentiment that the Air Raid is a plug-n-play system. True or not, perception is reality in the world we live in. And the perception among Heisman voters is there are a lot of quarterbacks who can succeed in that system, and play design and play calling are to be credited, not individual talent.

If Graham Harrell couldn't win it at Texas Tech, nobody can.


Ben in St. Peters, Mo. asks: What would Mack Brown do for a Klondike bar? Seriously.

DU: I can't speak to Mack's love of frozen foods, but I would do any number of things for that delicious treat.